Mr A. P. Bigelow introduced a towel rental service to businesses in London. Each towel was marked with the customer's initials, which ensured that customers only received their own towels, leading to the name, 'Initial Towel Supply Company'.
Danish pharmacist, Georg Neumann of Aalborg discovered a strain of bacteria lethal to rats and mice, which became known commercially as Ratin. The first London sales office opened in 1906.
Harold Maxwell Lefroy, Professor of Entomology at Imperial College London, was asked to study ways of exterminating the beetles in Westminster Hall and in time began receiving regular orders.
Lefroy started supplying bottles of woodworm fluid from a small factory in Hatton Garden, which he called 'Ento-kill fluids - an amalgam of the Greek work 'entomon' meaning insect and the English word 'kill'.
Rentokil is born.
The company was registered in 1925 as Rentokil Limited due to trade name objections preventing the name 'Entokill'.
The Initial Towel Supply Company floated on the stock market and during the 1930s BET (British Electric Traction) acquired a small stake in Initial.
Ratin Buys Chelsea
Demand for pest control services began extending beyond rodent control to insect control. British Ratin made its first acquisition, Chelsea Insecticides Ltd.
Dr Hickin, Entomologist
Dr Norman Hickin joined Rentokil Limited as an entomologist. He started a servicing section which became Woodworm and Dry Rot Control Ltd in 1952.
By the mid 1950's, the synergies between British Ratin and Rentokil Ltd had become obvious and British Ratin acquired Rentokil Ltd and its service arm, Woodworm and Dry Rot Control Ltd.
On 1 January 1962 all the UK trading companies became divisions of Rentokil Laboratories Ltd, shortened to Rentokil Limited.
Listing on the London Stock Exchange
Rentokil Group Ltd was listed on the London Stock Exchange with one of the largest new issues of shares the City had seen. In the same year, it established the basis of a hygiene division with the purchase of Rashbrooke Chemical Company and in 1970 acquired Thames Services for £1million.
City Link founded in same year.
BET acquires Initial
In the early 80's BET increased its stake in Initial to 40%, and in 1985 BET acquired the remaining 60%. This allowed it to merge Initial with Advance Service's laundry operations while retaining the Initial brand name.
Rentokil Initial Expands
Rentokil Initial embarked on geographical expansion and increased its list of services with acquisitions of businesses involved with office cleaning, indoor tropical plant care and office machinery maintenance. A healthcare (washroom services) division was also set up during this period, and was bolstered by the acquisition of the Calmic washroom hygiene company.
Rentokil Initial is created
Rentokil made its largest acquisition to date, BET (British Electric Traction) and the Inital brand passed to Rentokil.
Rentokil Preserves Norwegian Royal Heritage
Stiftsgården, Norway's Royal Residence discovers a potentially disastrous infestation of clothes moths. Rentokil is called upon to treat over 300 items of furniture, including the original Crowning Chairs, using their unique Controlled Atmosphere Technology system.
Rentokil launches RADAR - the Rodent Activated, Detection And Riddance device which combines CO2 and infrared technology
Rentokil Tropical Plants is re-branded as Ambius
Ambius is the world's largest provider of plants for commercial environments and begins to expand its service offering to include ambient scenting, corporate artwork and fresh fruit.
Rentokil Initial announces an agreement with Google to move its email and communication platform to Google Apps.
Our operations expand to new territories with acquisitions in Turkey, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Canada and the United States. The acquisition of Western Exterminator makes Rentokil the third largest player in the US pest control market.
Initial launches its new Signature Range - a stylish range of quality washroom products made from tough durable materials with an integral antibacterial surface that helps reduce the spread of germs.